Bryce Brady '14, political science

Bryce BradyThe passion of Bryce Brady (’14, political science) to make a difference took him to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., as a 2014 Panetta intern.

That same tug of altruism will lead him to the corridors of a high school in Sacramento, where he will be an English teacher in the Teach for America program.

He also aims to instill a sense of pride in students as a reflection of their community. Brady says he didn’t have a black teacher until he got to college and feels that he can serve as a role model for African American students.

“I would be most effective by being around young black men and women who look like me,” he says. “They can relate to me and I can relate to them. I will be a great resource for my students.”

Teach for America, an AmeriCorps program, is focused on serving low-income students. Participants commit to teach for at least two years in urban and rural communities across the country.

Brady will start his student teaching in June, and by fall will have his own classroom of 11th- and 12th- graders.

“I will be in the lion’s den,” he says.

Brady says he has several friends who are teaching as part of the program and was impressed by their altruism.

“The type of work they are doing in various communities inspired me,” he says. “You can really touch a lot of people’s lives.”

It wasn’t long ago that Brady was navigating Cal Poly Pomona as a student and athlete. After graduating from high school, the Los Angeles native took his basketball skills to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

After his freshman year, he decided that military service was not for him. Cal Poly Pomona’s basketball coaches recruited him, and the shooting guard transferred to the university in 2011.

Broncos Coach Greg Kamansky describes Brady as selfless and giving.

“He was a wonderful person and teammate,” Kamansky says. “He did anything we asked. He would play a lot in one game and not a lot in another, but you never heard him complain one iota. He sacrificed for the good of the team.”

Brady played on the 2012 squad that had one of its best seasons, finishing with a 28-3 record.

“He was a big part of that,” Kamansky says.

He made the most of his time academically by enrolling in a study abroad program in Tanzania during his sophomore year.

In 2013, he was a part of the Panetta Institute Congressional Internship program in Washington, working for U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego). He credits the university’s experiential learning philosophy with ensuring he was up to the task.

Brady researched different aspects of legislation and conducted constituent outreach for Peters. He also led tours of the Capitol.

The most interesting thing about the Capitol is that it “not only represents democratic ideals, but it is also where the work of a democracy is done,” he says.

After graduation, he worked in the governor’s office, tasked with working with AmeriCorps programs and nonprofits in the office that oversee volunteers statewide. That posted ended last year.

David Speak, professor and chair of the political science department, says that although Brady is pursuing a path in teaching, he believes that he will one day return to his field of study.

“He’s been a very politically oriented person as long as I’ve known him,” Speaks says. “I think he will do something close to his experience in politics.”

Speak describes Brady as hardworking, bright and a wonderful student. He recalled one day when he had to step out of class and left Brady and another student in charge. When Speak returned, Brady and his classmate were standing by a white board where they had written important points from the lesson and engaged in a serious conversation with fellow students.

“He has a strong sense of self,” Speak says. “He’s committed to making the world a better place. It’s a very sweet thing to see.”

Brady, an avid reader who also enjoys movies and plays, says he is looking forward to getting in the classroom and molding his students. He chose to teach English, which was his minor, because he sees stories of all types as a gateway to understanding.

“Stories are the doorway to a more empathetic society,” he says. “They allow you to see yourself in other people. There is a need for more empathy and critical thinking. I knew whatever work I did, I wanted to help create a more thoughtful society.”